MADISON, Wis. — Doctors in Wisconsin are calling on President Donald Trump not to hold rallies with large crowds because of coronavirus concerns ahead of a scheduled rally on Tuesday in West Salem, Wisconsin.
“As a physician who lives and works in the La Crosse area, I'm extremely concerned that President Trump's rallies will affect people in my community, cause uncontrolled spread and worsen the pain and suffering we're already seeing all across Wisconsin,” said Dr. Robert Freedland, an ophthalmologist in La Crosse.
Freedland made the comments on a media call organized by The Committee To Protect Medicare on Monday. Freedland is the Wisconsin state lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare. The group along with more than 20 other Wisconsin doctors sent a letter to President Trump asking him not to hold anymore rallies In Wisconsin because of rising COVID-19 cases and community spread.
President Trump was in Wisconsin on Saturday for a rally in Waukesha. He is scheduled to be back for a rally Tuesday, this time to La Crosse County.
The Trump Campaign said Monday during a media briefing they intend to continue holding the rallies.
“If people can protest in the streets, if people can gamble in casinos, if people san riot and burn down buildings then certainly people can gather peacefully under the first amendment to hear from the President of the United States,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump's 2020 campaign.
Murtaugh said the Trump campaign hands out masks, holds rallies outside, and takes temperatures of rally attendees.
“The President wants to look after the health and safety of the people who attend his events and for all Americans and that's what he's been doing over the course of the last nine months in the coronavirus situation,” Murtaugh said.
Doctors say the rallies are a problem, but so is the example The President sets when it comes to coronavirus. Dr. Ann Helms, a neurologist in Milwaukee, said the President undermines doctors and public health agencies frequently.
“Wisconsin is also asking President Trump to step up and lead by example,” Helms said. “We're asking him again to model safety behaviors that are based on evidence such as wearing masks and avoiding large crowds.”
As cases soar in Wisconsin and around the country, doctors are saying rallies like Tuesday's are leading to further spread of the coronavirus.
“I think this is a historic moment where the president is actually hurting the American people in their greatest time of need,” Freedland said.